By Katie Faulkner
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are two main types of contact dermatitis (skin’s reaction to a substance it comes in contact with): irritant-induced and allergy-induced. Both cause symptoms like rashes, red bumps, itching, dry patches, and even painful blisters. But one is more severe: the allergy-induced form.
Allergy-induced contact dermatitis can also cause swelling, itching, and hive-like breakouts. For most people, it correlates with a specific ingredient that triggers symptoms. If this happens, it’s worth a trip to the dermatologist.
Your dermatologist can zero-in on the allergen by administering what’s known as a patch test – where the suspected allergen(s) are applied to a small patch of your skin, taped over, and observed for the next 24 to 48 hours. Once the culprit has been identified, it’s up to you to steer clear!
Here’s what you need to know: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have set few restrictions around cosmetic labeling. So what does that mean for consumers with allergies? You’ll have to be on you’re A-game as you peruse products. Being vigilant in your research before buying products is essential.
It also means that you can’t trust words like “natural,” “botanical,” “hypoallergic,” and “pure,” which are virtually meaningless. Instead, look for labels like “organic,” or even better, “100% organic” or “certified USDA organic.” These are the most strictly regulated labels.
Be warned, though: a certified organic product could still contain the specific substance that you’re allergic to. So the only guaranteed way to avoid looking like a slice of pepperoni pizza is to read the ingredients list and make sure your allergen isn’t part of the formula.